Member Monday Featuring Elane Zelcer

There’s something about these little birds that almost always make for a great photo! Puffin birds are commonly found in the North Atlantic ocean, and are known as “sea parrots” and”clowns of the ocean”.  Elane perfectly captured their animated and take-charge nature!

Check out the story behind this shot!

About the Photo

Title:  “Puffin-in-Charge” Location:  amongst the puffins’ burrows on a hill in Fair Isle, Scotland.

I’ve always wanted to get sharp images of puffins. They are such feisty and comical-looking birds, but my previous experiences have been that they fly very fast, and head straight for their burrows when they come back from fishing – lots of fuzzy images!  Fair Isle provided a great opportunity for a better outcome. We were high up on the cliff, amongst their burrows, so they were close.  Being able to sit quietly on the peat-covered ground gave me time to learn about their “habits,” get them used to me being there, and enabled me to use my knees to support my camera.   

I took many photos of these wonderful birds over about 2 hours. I love this one because of the way the puffin with its mouth open, squawking quite loudly, has the complete attention of the bird on the right, while the other slightly behind, looks as if it really doesn’t care about all the noise.  Technically, the depth of field works – it isolates the birds, while there is still a sense of being up high amongst the grass on a cliff. And the open mouth provides the “gesture” that can be hard to capture when birds are standing around.

Gear and Software

Sony A9 with Sony’s FE4.5-5.6 100-400mm GM OSS lens. This is my first step into mirrorless, and although I’d used it before I went on this trip (zoos & parks), this was my first time traveling with it. Fantastic!

Software: Lightroom Classic 

Photography Preferences

I really love photographing wild animals in their normal environment – birds, bears, whales, sea lions, penguins – whoever is in the area that I’m visiting.  With a preference for cold climates, whenever I can, I try to get to places like Fair Isle, Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the Antarctic and around Australia (where I live). 

Being able to do this safely via adventure-cruises on small ships & yachts, has become a passion – and there are frequently great pro photographers to learn from on those trips.  

Photography Inspiration

Not specifically for this image – but definitely inspired by Rick Sammon and Moose Peterson regarding wildlife. They provide very valuable details, hints, and ideas, and are so ready to share the good and not-so-good moments too. 

Favorite KelbyOne Class

Without a doubt, the Lightroom hints in video classes and in the magazine are fantastic. The wildlife courses are excellent – it’s time to go back to Rick Sammon’s and Moose Peterson’s safari-related & bird classes, ahead of a trip to Africa mid-year.  I’ll also do the “Travel Photography: Making Portraits of Locals” – Scott Kelby & Rick Sammon, to help me re-orient towards taking photos of people while there. 

Connect with Elane on her website, or Twitter page! We’re always excited to feature members who are out there working on their craft with awesome projects!

Be sure to submit your photos for a chance to receive a Member Monday feature of your own.